Sensory and cognitive neurophysiology in rats, Part 1: Controlled tactile stimulation and micro-ECoG recordings in freely moving animals
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SourceJournal of Neuroscience Methods, 232, (2014), pp. 63-73
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC KI
SW OZ DCC BI
SW OZ DCC CO
SW OZ DCC SMN
Journal of Neuroscience Methods
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control; Biological psychology; Cognitive artificial intelligence; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 4: Brain Networks and Neuronal Communication; Biologische psychologie
Background: We have developed a setup for rats that allows for controlled sensory input to an animal engaged in a task while recording both electrophysiological signals and behavioral output. New method: We record electrophysiological signals using a novel high-density micro-electrocorticography (micro-ECoG) grid that covers almost the whole somatosensory system. We dealt with the well-known difficulty that the rat uses its whisker system in an active (motor-controlled) way to explore its environment by designing a head-mounted device that stimulates the rat's snout in a way unaffected by whisker movements. Results: We replicate the spatial specificity of early evoked responses in somatosensory and auditory cortex. In a companion paper (Cognitive Neurophysiology in Rats, Part 2: Validation and Demonstration) we validate our setup and show for the first time that the ECoG can be used to record evoked responses in a signal that reflects neural output (spiking activity). Comparison with existing methods: Compared with high-density wire recordings, micro-ECoG offers a much more stable signal without readjustments, and a much better scalability. Compared with head-fixed preparations, our head-mounted stimulator allows to stay closer to the rat's natural way of collecting sensory information. Conclusions: For perceptual and cognitive research, our setup provides a unique combination of possibilities that cannot be achieved in other setups for rodents.
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